‘Lioli must quickly elect new committee’

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Moorosi Tsiane

THE Lioli executive must immediately call for a special conference and elect a new committee that will rid the team of the problems that have been dogging it in the current Econet Premier League season.

Different commentators, among them former president, Lebohang Thotanyane, think the centre can no longer hold at Lioli as evidenced by the mass exodus in the presidium.

Acting president Itumeleng Mpokathe is the latest to call it quits a fortnight ago. He followed in the footsteps of president Tšeliso Tekateka and two vice presidents; Lehlohonolo Thotanyana and Tšeliso Mou. Mpokathe has been acting in Tekateka’s place.

Apart from the four presidents, two other Lioli executive committee members Tlotliso Mpholo and Tšeliso Lerata will soon be dragged to a disciplinary hearing along with the team’s general manager Hlalele Matobako.

Thotanyana, who is Tekateka’s predecessor, told the Lesotho Times this week that the only way for the six-time league champions to wiggle out of the unenviable situation is by calling a special conference to elect a new executive committee.

Thotanyana led the team since 2008 until last year. During his tenure, the side won 16 trophies, making him the most successful president.

He led the team to four league triumphs, four Independence cups, six Top8 trophies, one Alliance Winter Challenge and one Bokamoso trophy.

He said with only three executive committee members left, it was imperative for an emergency special conference to be convened. If push comes to shove and the executive committee fails, then the supporters can even call for the conference.

“In terms of the constitution, there is no committee to talk about because three members cannot constitute a quorum hence a special conference must be held immediately,” Thotanyana said.

“If the remaining committee members fail, then the supporters can do that.

“The biggest challenge at the club at the moment is that the committee members do not feel they need help. They think they are on the right path.”

The team’s current vice president technical, Moses Maliehe, is in agreement with Thotanyana that a special conference is required immediately. He however, said they were hoping to hold it June when the season has ended.

“Of course, we need a special conference but the plan was to have it in June as for now we are still trying to keep things together into the team,” Maliehe said.

Thotanyana said the situation has been worsened by the club’s huge wage-bill exacerbated by the January signing of Luciano Matsoso (from Black Leopards) and Thato Sefuli (from Real Kings). The side also appointed new coaches namely Morena Ramorebodi and Molefi Loape as head and assistant respectively. The move has been criticised as it leaves the team needing funds in the region of M150 000 monthly, a huge sum by Lesotho standards.

Thotanyana said the signings do not make any business sense as the team is spending almost M30 000 on Matsoso and Sefuli alone.

The former Premier League Management Committee (PLMC) chairperson said instead, Lioli just needed to sign quality players at the beginning of the season after the departure of Lekhanya Lekhanya, Kopano Tseka and Tšoanelo Koetle.

He said the committee has foregone the principle of improving the team.

“They released quality players but failed to replace them with the same quality. They lost Tšoanelo, Kopano and Lekhanya among others and failed to replace them. Instead they took young players claiming to build the team. However, Lioli is a big side that strives on engaging players who are ready to perform instead of grooming.

“In January they ended up making panic buys and those were expensive players. That has seen the wage bill shoot. The payroll is close to M150 000 monthly and that is too much for a local team,” he said.

Thotanyana said the management has continued making wrong decisions which saw them being at loggerheads with the PLMC.

“They made several wrong decisions and now the PLMC has ordered them to pay Liteboho Mokhehle (former goalkeeper) M88 000. This goes to show that they had no clue about football administration.

“They are failing to perform the simplest tasks. Before my departure, I had secured sponsorship from Lesotho Funeral to build a club house but it still hasn’t happened today,” Thotanyana.

But Maliehe instead thinks Lioli will be able to pay its players for the rest of the season as per their contracts. In fact, he said they got into the situation with eyes wide open.

“People will always talk but claims that we are in a financial are absurd. We were aware that our wage bill would be high and we were prepared for that. Lioli will sustain its players’ salaries until their contracts end without any excuse.

“We have substantial funds from our sponsors Alliance Insurance Company (M180 000 monthly) and also we have a property where we collect rent monthly.

“We signed the players that people are complaining about to boost the team and they have brought a different dimension to our team.”

Maliehe insisted that the team’s wage bill was not high because of the new signings but due to high salaries paid to average players.

“We have too many average players who are paid too much. Our average players earn what the best players earn at other clubs. But we lack quality players and that is one of the reasons for which we are struggling. We are working on reinforcing the team.

“Our target it to finish in the top four then we can set new targets for next season.”

However, Maliehe has no kind words for the executives who have left. He said some of the new committee members expected easy sailing and have now resigned in droves after they found the going tough.

He said they must now improve their election process to ensure stability.

“We also need to improve the manner we elect people. We cannot elect people who will be in office for just a few months then leave.

“Watching from outside, football administration always looks easy but reality strikes when you are in the post. The resignations speak volumes. Running a football team requires dedication and hard work because football is a business,” Maliehe said.

Former Likuena skipper, Tšepo Hlojeng said the Lioli leadership must quickly resolve their problems to return to stability.

“Everyone can see that there are problems within the team. It is always worrying to see leaders leave in that manner. The leaders must solve their problems quickly because they are affecting the team.

“If there are problems at the management level, there won’t be stability in the team and the results will show in the field of play. They know what their problems are and they must work to resolve them,” Hlojeng said.

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